10 Ways To Tackle Your New Sketchbook

So you come home with a new sketchbook!


It’s such a wonderful feeling. The crisp, new, unspoiled paper. You may even be a book sniffer and be able to smell how fresh it is.
Then the ‘new sketchbook’ block happens, you want the first drawing to be perfect and set the stage and standard for every other drawing to come

I am deeply sorry to inform you that it’s a sketchbook and that’s just not the way it usually happens. Sketchbooks are for practice and experiment, but here are 10 ideas to help you on your way

1 Start with what you are good at!

There may be things your are better at than others such as cartoons or observational drawing. Start with one or two things that you have confidence with and let it flow on from there. Just don’t forget to try new things once the ball is rolling!

2 Do a front title page

It might sound like I’m telling you to go back to primary school but title pages can be a really helpful way to just get into your sketchbook! Start with words from a quote, your name or even just “Sketchbook 2016” then doodle design  and colour like a champ!

3 Do some swatches and colour wheels

These can be so handy at the start or back of your book where you can flick to easily. Swatches allow you to plan ahead and know the colours and textured marks that are in your arsenal.

4 Try a new medium

Get excited and out of your normal art routines and pick up a new medium to work with. new paints, pens, chalk, coloured card, pastels, inks, coloured pencil, collage, resist techniques (water based over oil) the choices are endless! Pick something new to do, maybe something you have always wanted to try!

5 Do a senseless scribble with the pen in your mouth!

Scribble senselessly and try the ‘loose association‘ technique I showed you guys! Take breath and just dive into your sketchbook Rambo style!

6 Do a collage

I want to bring special attention to something already vaguely mentioned. Collage is a good way to just get images into that first page. It’s easy to cut stuff out and creatively arrange them with some glue and tape. maybe adding stickers and some marker here and there.

7 Start in the middle

You don’t have to start on the first page. If its just the first page holding you back, dive into the middle. You can always stick something over it later if it turns out that offensive. Though I do recommend keeping all your drawings, even the crappy ones because you can use them to get better and observe your improvement over time.

8 Scroll through Pinterest or Tumblr for inspiration

Find stuff that inspires you! mash your favorite features together or try an recreate a work of art you like. Studies on other peoples work will help you understand their techniques and clarify what it actually is that you like about their work and how it was made.

9 Doodling, mandala’s or zentangles

These styles of work are great when you don’t know what to draw because you don’t have to have a clear direction. Play around with texture shapes and patterns in a simple meditation like style.

10 Draw a self portrait

Don’t forget, you always have yourself to draw! Use a mirror and practice the age old art of the self portrait. It’s a great way your sketchbook can introduce the viewer to the piece of yourself that is your sketchbook!






The World As Inspiration Part One: How to find ideas in anything!

I am going to start you guys off with two compelling quotes before I dive into the first part of this mini blog series. I believe it will help you find some of the coolest things to pull inspiration from as well as how to find inspiration in anything. 😀
I am arming you with the later first, so you’ll know how to make the most of mining the real gems


I wouldn’t use a club personally, I find notebooks are far more efficient! which leads me to the next quote

Your-mind-is-for-having-e1354843216938Your most important tool as are your sketchbooks and notebooks. You need to carry them on you everywhere you go. why? because the day you don’t, you’ll forget that wonderful idea or miss the chance to even have that idea in the first place! All around you and everywhere you go there are things to use! especially if you do it deliberately! Cameras can also be an asset.

Here is a little exercise I use to keep me sharp on creative ideas. It helps you develop ideas faster and look at things differently once you realize that everything has more potential than you would originally judge it to have.

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#1 Look around you and pick something, anything! It could be a pillow, a plant,a book, a piece of carpet or…even a blank wall.

  • #2 Take that thing and start brainstorming ideas! There are different ways you can do this, and I suggest giving them all a go because the more angles you look at something the more idea starting points it will have but don’t forget to write them down. Take for instance the carpet.

    #3. What is it’s actual use; when and why was it invented, what trends did it go through, where did it come from, what is it made of.

    #4. What could you use it for; A rug, you could hang it on the wall, on a table, A blanket.

    #5. What particular elements of it could be used and how; the texture might make cool prints with paint onto paper, it’s tough and be good for solid sculptures, it insulates, it protects.

    #6. What could you physically do to it? Burn it, roll yourself up in it, Paint it, cut it into shapes,

    #7. Mixing these answers together is where the magic happens

It’s tough and insulates, you can cut it and paint it so you could make a Tepee
You could roll yourself up in it, cover it in paint and roll across some paper while inside it.
You could make it into wall paper and paint prints onto it
You could make a really durable pencil case with it
You could work on a series of prints and designs of the life time of carpets (which I bet full of cool patterns)

This list would grow really quickly, as will how you question the item, and the more you practice the better and faster you will get. And that’s just carpet, Imagine picking something you have a passion or deeper interest in! Just remember to practice on other items to though, you’ll think of things you never would have thought of before!

I have no right to the photo’s on this article as they are found in Google images

2.5 Hour Sketchbook Attepmt

After reading an article by “Doodlers-anonymous” about Indian artist Vishnu M Nair, I decided I wanted to have a go. I really should have had a look to see what size sketchbook he used and how many pages though, because i ended up with a lot more to do in that 2 and half hours. To the left is mine, the right is his.

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I should have had about 1 and a half minuets to do each page, however, with the occasional pause between page and losing time scribbling in some colour it took me around 3.5 to 4 hours. In 2.5 hours I managed 47 illustrations!

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#1 through to #94. Seems there is no way to have a little gallery :/
Enjoy 😉

My 5 Favourite Sketchbook Vloggers

For me, the one thing that guarantees inspiration for picking up my sketchbook is having a look at other people’s. There are some pretty insane sketchbooks out there! and people use them in some interesting ways. Some people’s are full of perfectly finished illustrations while others are a little more down to earth and are full of quick ideas and scribbles. Some are full of glued in pictures and mixed media, some just pen and pencil, some are themed all the way through and some are full of loads of different eccentric topics. There are so many too, so you’ll never run out.
Here are some of my favorites that I always tend to watch when I’m on a sketchbook low, and they always put my pencil to paper in no time!

#1 Peter Draws.
With Peter, it’s not just the fantastic line drawings but the commentary. He’s inspiring and has a very zen like style to his videos as he imparts his wisdom onto the audience and always wishes us all well with out fail. The combination of soft musings and mind-boggling work is like taking a calming happy pill.

#2 Will Terrell
Will is another artist that does a great commentary. Through his conversation he has a lot to teach, and what he teaches has tremendous value not just for drawing but life in general. He is another exceptionally intelligent person on this list.

#3 entries for the “Calarts”
“CalArts Sketchbooks” is a search tag that pulls up gold everytime! I spend a lot of time enviously watching what these guys produce.

#4 Drawing tutorials online/ The students books
Matt is one lucky teacher! Sketchbook after sketchbook from some of the most talented students on the planet! He runs two online courses for drawing and painting and also teaches in NY. His New York students sketchbooks are uploaded to YouTube via his phone so we can gobble up some sketchbook eye candy.

#5 ‘Sam Makes Pictures’
This is a one off sketchbook share. He has a total of 5 videos and hadn’t uploaded a video for 2 years until 2 months ago… His videos obviously made a good impression because since he hasn’t been uploading, his video never made it to my feed. I found it today, when i remembered him for you guys, so thankyou!

Want to fill your sketchbook up? Why not get involved with the 365 day sketchbook challenge!
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